Huge wages which allow young footballers to get behind the wheel of powerful cars has prompted the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) to team up with DriveTech.
While it might seem at first glance that the scheme is intended to help players avoid crashing their Ferraris and Porsches and ending up being featured in the pages of The Sun, it will in fact focus on safer driving and the impact on the community of dangerous driving rather than how to drive a supercar.
The PFA recognised that its younger members were among some of the most at-risk on the roads, and called in experts from the fleet industry to assess that risk.
Hundreds of young professionals will be offered the three-hour awareness programme. The training is provided free to all trainees and youth team players at the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs. Up to 1,500 people will be put through the training. PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: ‘We believe this initiative will reduce the risk of death or serious injury on the roads involving young professional footballers. During the first half of 2005, we hope all clubs will hold courses.
‘It will focus on the consequences of decisions they make while behind the wheel.
‘I believe that each player’s attitude and behaviour while driving will be enhanced as well as their competency to drive. It will not teach players how to drive, but it will teach them how to drive safely.’
DriveTech’s risk management partner, Volkswagen, will provide two new Golf GTIs to help with the PFA programme.
Chris Howell, DriveTech chairman, added: ‘Not only are young drivers the most vulnerable on our roads, but young professional footballers frequently drive powerful cars. There are a number of tragic examples of footballers’ careers ending because of wrong decisions made while behind the wheel.’